The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A spin-off (or spinoff) is a new organization or entity formed by a split from a larger one such as a new company formed from a university research group.

Spin-offs include a dissenting faction of a membership organization , a sect of a cult, a denomination of a church, a diversified branch of a large corporation, or a start-up company formed by members of a research group at a university. In business, a spin-off is essentially the opposite of a merger. In computing, a spin-off of a software project is often called a fork.

The term is also used for concepts or products spun off a research project, for example methods or materials pioneered during the Manhattan Project or during the Space Race.


The process of deriving new radio or television programs from existing ones is also referred to as spinning off (see list of television spin-offs). Spin-offs work with varying degrees of success. Some become very popular and last for a number of seasons, others are not well received and have considerably shorter life spans.

AfterMASH is an example of a spin-off that is not well received. Before the final season of M*A*S*H the main cast voted as to whether or not to continue the series. The final vote was 4-3. William Christopher, Jamie Farr, and Harry Morgan wanted to continue work on M*A*S*H. After the 11th season, they began work on AfterMASH. It lasted two seasons, with 30 episodes. Without those cast members and writers who made the original TV show successful, AfterMASH was never as popular as the original.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is an example of a popular spin-off. It was a spin-off of the original Star Trek television series and movies. Many fans consider The Next Generation to be the pinnacle of the franchise.

Frasier is one of most popular spin-off series of all time, based on the character Dr. Frasier Crane from the American sitcom Cheers. The series ran for eleven seasons.

Some consider The Simpsons to be a spin-off, as it features characters that originally appeared in brief comic sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show. The show, launched in 1989, remains on the air and is the longest-running cartoon series of all time.


Civilian goods which are the result of military or governmental research are also known as spinoffs.

See also

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